Puerto Rico: From Sun to Salsa

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Some of best travel experiences happen when you throw itineraries out the window and go with the flow. On our girls trip to Puerto Rico a few weeks ago, we had the good fortune of having Juan as our host, so we said to hell with the rain forests and forts (we have them in the Philippines, too, and the same guys built them). We'd rather kick it island-style with the locals.

We spent a breezy afternoon at Cafe la Plage in Isla Verde, where the sand was powder-fine, the waters blue and dotted with daring kite surfers, and the mojitos flowing like a river. Tropical paradise at its best.

Afterward, showers bedamned, our hosts Juan and Eduardo took us straight to La Placita, an outdoor market that turns into a block party of sorts on the weekend. We tried a local favorite tipple at El Coco de Luis: scotch on the rocks with coconut water. Then we sat down for dinner at El Pescador, where we were served a dish that haunts my foodie dreams to this day: angulas—tiny silvery eels sauteed in oil and garlic. Sublime.

In between servings of mofongo and bacalao, we danced salsa—as did the locals who easily partnered up around the market and on the streets each time the live band started an irresistible song. Dancing salsa to my heart's content had to be one of my favorite things about this trip.

After La Placita, we had some more drinks in Piñones, a stretch of beach lined with rustic and very local bars. It truly felt like being in another world.

We ended the night with a foray into Old San Juan, where the streets were bustling and the atmosphere was electric. I may have taken a dip in a town fountain. Shhh.

We went from sun to salsa wearing our saltwater soaked clothes and sand-dusted flip-flops, and it was the best day of our trip in Puerto Rico. It's definitely left me with a craving for more.

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